* Mexico inflation outlook for 2013 steady at 3.76 percent
* Central banker says hike eyed if expectations worsen
* Remittances fall in September at fastest pace in 3 years
MEXICO CITY, Nov 1 Analysts raised their
forecast for Mexican annual inflation this year for the fifth
month in a row, but backed the central bank's view that the
advance in consumer prices will slow its pace in 2013, a poll
showed on Thursday.
Annual inflation was seen at 4.16 percent for 2012, a slight
increase over last month's forecast of 4.15 percent, the central
bank said in a monthly poll of economists, banks and brokerages.
But inflation estimates for 2013 were held steady at 3.76
percent. Mexican central bank governor Agustin Carstens said
this week that policymakers expect inflation to cool next year
after a recent spike.
Annual inflation dipped in early October off of a 2-1/2-year
high of 4.77 percent in September as pressure from a jump in
fresh food prices eased, spurring hopes that the increase in
prices had peaked in Latin America's number two economy.
On Friday, the central bank kept interest rates steady at
4.5 percent, where they have remained since mid-2009. But it
warned it would tighten monetary policy if price pressures do
Central bank board member Manuel Sanchez said on Thursday
that policymakers would need to adjust interest rates in a
"timely way" if the convergence of inflation toward the central
bank's target of 3 percent "is endangered."
"The most essential challenge continues to be the anchoring
of inflation expectations on the 3 percent permanent target,"
Sanchez said at an event in Houston according to a document
posted on the central bank's website.
Sanchez said policymakers would be watching for so-called
second round effects, which include rising wages, as well as any
pressure on prices from recovering demand in the local economy.
Mexico's jobless rate fell in September to its lowest since
October 2008, before a deep recession drove up unemployment. The
economy has bounced back enough from that slump to where growth
could pressure inflation, according to the central bank.
The central bank poll showed a forecast of 3.87 percent for
economic growth this year, compared to estimates in the last
poll for 3.85 percent.
Analysts raised their growth forecast for 2013 to 3.56
percent from 3.53 percent.
The poll results represent the average of forecasts of 29
experts who were consulted in the second half of October.
In a separate report, the central bank said the amount of
cash sent home by Mexicans working abroad fell in September at
its steepest pace since October 2009.
Mexican's living abroad sent home 1.663 billion in
September, down 20.2 percent from the same month last year.
The slump followed a 12 percent drop in August and the
slower flow of cash back home could crimp local consumption in
the coming months, said Goldman Sachs economist Alberto Ramos.